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From Florida, USA:

My son is 1 year old and was diagnosed with diabetes 3 weeks ago. Is it true that tight control on younger children with diabetes can cause brain damage? How can you control glucose without tight control?


Managing diabetes is a bit like walking a tightrope. One way lies the stormy water of hypoglycaemia and the other side is the seductive but dangerous hyperglycaemia.

Obviously the ideal is to stay on the tightrope most of the time and keep blood sugars as near normal as possible. This presupposes that the person with diabetes can play an active part in the process and recognises when hypos are imminent. Most young children are not very good at this. In any case they have a much more variable lifestyle than their older brothers and sisters who have the relative sameness of school etc to help in the day to day management of their blood sugars.

It is also the case that children's brains go on growing until they are around 5 years old. They are thus, probably (but not certainly) more prone to the damaging effects of hypoglycaemia and you should certainly try to avoid severe hypos. Since tight control implies being close to hypo, and for all the reasons above, young children should not be run so tight as older children.


Original posting 20 Mar 97


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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:08:54
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